Review: Grey Goo

In the future humanity finds a small keyhole.  The keyhole is not large enough to travel through but large enough to send signals through.  The keyhole hits everywhere in the universe.  A probe program is launched to create a probe small enough to go through the keyhole but that can become large enough to compile millions of terabytes of data and send them back to Earth.  The probe was a self-replicating machine.  It would start off microscopic in size and consume resources of a planet to get larger and replicate allowing the probe to travel to more locations and plot more planets.

But in all the time of the probe, not a single intelligent life was found.  Various countries sent out expeditions to try and colonize various planets, but that only ended with humanity going to war with each other.  So humanity created a permanent peace among themselves and stopped the probe.

But the probe didn’t stop.  It continued on with its mission of finding everything in the world.  But now it had one major directive, Consume, Adapt, and Survive.

The probe would eventually find one alien species, but by this point it was no longer reporting back to Earth.  This group called The Beta developed a whole civilization around avoiding the probe.  They found a way to open a hole in the key and teleport to a new planet, hopefully untouched by them.  They named them “The Silent Ones” mainly because of how you could not communicate with them.

A human ship accidentally falls into one of these holes in space to find themselves where The Beta have called their home world.  As the two factions have a very bad first contact, the probe arrives, except now it has a new hankering for destruction.

The game focuses around the conflict of these three factions on the beta homeworld.

The single player campaign focuses on the misunderstandings between the three factions with 15 missions.  Each faction gets 5 missions in which they are the hero protagonist and the other factions are aggressive misunderstanding aliens.

The game plays very similarly to Starcraft 2, but then you get a sense that Command and Conquer was involved.  And it was.  The founders of Petroglyph Studios were involved in the production of the original Command and Conquer game.  What you get is a vastly unique game with very intricate factions and a well polished campaign.

The Beta are a group of aliens that are the only people who can construct buildings anywhere.  They build hubs anywhere and attach buildings to them.  Hubs increase in size and allow for new constructions.

The Alpha have one central structure of which all buildings are built on it.  Like the beta they build attachments.  Unlike the beta they have the ability to teleport their structures anywhere meaning that attachments can be re-used.

Units in both factions are created by using combinations of attachments.  Maybe you will need a Artillery Attachment and a Stealth attachment to get a Howitzer in one faction.  While in another faction you only need your artillery attachment to get your artillery unit.

Each attachment also unlocks a free tech.  The free tech come in one of each category in which you are limited to 1 tech out of 3.  Choosing wisely is important although some fair better than others.

The Goo however work completely different.  The building structure for the goo is a unit, the mother goo.  The mother goo harvests resources and grows in strength.  It can gather resources by sitting on nodes, eating up units and eating up buildings.  After gaining so much health it can split off into one of three units, small, large, and mother goo.  Small goos build light units.  Large goos build heavy units. The mother goo can also sacrifice health to invest in one research point in 5 various categories.

Each size goo also has a unique combat ability.  The mother goo snares.  The small goo heals.  The large goo applies a attack speed decrease.  This makes these structures also very aggressive in nature.

This all sounds too good to be true… and for the most part it is.

The game launched with very bad network problems.  People were disconnecting from games left and right.  The game was region locked so the population in smaller regions just didn’t exist.  As well there appeared to be a unique bug in which a visual effect that people couldn’t see was being applied to every single unit causing additional graphics lag that would carry across the multiplayer connection.

So the game lost its multiplayer community before it ever had a chance to get one.  You are essentially just buying a single player game.

The campaign is only worth about 10-12 hours of pure gameplay.

The game has some real shames.  It is a very beautiful game with a lot of love put in it.  But it didn’t have an authentic beta testing that could have addressed all of the problems they had at launch.  But unfortunately in its current state it is just not worth the price tag.  Wait for a price drop at the summer Steam sale.

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End of Nations Becomes a MOBA

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It’s been a while since we’ve heard from the MMORTS.  A really long time.  But the first news from Trion Worlds is that they will be developing the game as a MOBA instead of as an MMORTS.

So what’s the difference?  You ask.

Well a MOBA involves a hero type who will level up and get stronger as you accomplish tasks+kill stuff.  In this game the hero is at the center of it all and he will be assisted by a tiny army… but keeping that hero alive is the main thing as he will become a bastion of mega strength.

By comparison the old End of Nations had various units with abilities they could use in which heroes were just slightly stronger units that not everyone necessarily used.

The switch makes the game closer to League of Legends and it is now expected that people will be able to buy “Premium Heroes” for play.

As well removed from the game is the overworld in which battles were being won and lost on a global scale.  Instead it’s now micro games in which you are trying to earn currency to purchase heroes and level up your avatar.

End of Nations Re-Enters Alpha

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After almost a year in developer hell in which the game was basically dead, Trion Worlds has re-launched the title to re-enter alpha stages.

The game was being developed by Petroglyph Games.  Petroglyph gave us Empire at War and was composed of the team responsible for most of the Command and Conquer games.

They really have not done anything since Petroglyph headed to courts to solve legal disputes.

So End of Nations development was shut down and now End of Nations has been handed full on over to Trion Worlds.

Trion Worlds just finished development of Defiance.  Defiance’s sales of course were not that hot and has recently been knocked down 75% off on Steam.

In light of this Trion Worlds has decided to re-brand this title from an MMO-RTS to a MOBA with RTS elements (which is what it was closer to all along anyway).  Whether that means there will be major changes to the game or not is hard to say.